Church Mutual donation to nurture IT innovation at NTC
Thanks in part to a considerable donation from Church Mutual Insurance Company, a new cutting edge IT program at the NTC-Wausau Campus will soon launch to a promising horizon.
Monday morning, NTC president Dr. Lori Weyers and Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce President Aaron Kapellusch, along with representatives from other area technical colleges, universities as well as members of Church Mutual administration, officially unveiled “The Branch” at the school’s new state of the art ITEC (Informational Technology Entrepreneurial Center).
During the presentation, Church Mutual Senior Vice-President of Operations Kevin Root presented a check in the amount of $250,000 to Kapellusch.
‘The Branch’ was formed through a partnership between the chamber, NTC and Church Mutual and is a ‘skills accelerator’ designed to give high-potential college students the training, connections and experience needed to develop the necessary skills for careers in the ever evolving world of Information Technology.
The Branch, will form multi-disciplinary teams of students and have them work on corporate innovation challenges. Those students with start-up ideas will in turn have an outlet to apply such ideas.
By participating in The Branch-consisting of 10 week cohorts- students will learn and develop valuable career skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking through entrepreneurial projects.
“Students will have many, many opportunities to work with unique and innovative projects from area businesses, from entrepreneurial and manufacturing to commercial.” Weyers added.
“While working out of the ITEC, The Branch will open the door to get our students and businesses working together to help business grow in central Wisconsin.
According to Root, Church Mutual’s interest in the program was two-fold; fulfilling the company’s emphasis on seeking and forming community partnerships, as well as a recruiting tool of sorts.
“We saw this as a wonderful opportunity for a partnership,” Root stated in a short address to those in attendance Monday morning.
“We are an employee-focused company and credit our employees for everything we have accomplished. But the bad news is several hundred of our employees will be retiring over the next ten years and with that, we will need to replenish our employee pool. We believe the future of our success as a leading employer in north-central Wisconsin, is tied to colleges and schools in our area.”
As Kapellusch adds, the donation was made in January and has already been put to use in helping with program facilitation costs, staffing and promoting the program to area businesses.
In turn, businesses like Church Mutual who choose to invest and take part in the program. see a return on their investment in as little as 10 weeks, which is the timeline for each student cohort.
The first cohort is ready to roll out in May, with another scheduled for the fall.
The Branch is still looking for sponsors, innovative projects and mentors however business participation is limited to members of the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce and only to students attending NTC, Lakeland College, Mid-State Technical College, Rasumussen College, UW-Marathon County, Upper Iowa University and UW-Stevens Point.
Those wishing to learn more about The Branch may contact NTC Learning Coordinator Sarah Kapellusch at (715) firstname.lastname@example.org or Wausau Chamber Marketing Manager Brian Otten at (715) email@example.com